Since acquiring the former Houston Wood Preserving Works (HWPW) site in 1997, Union Pacific remains dedicated to maintaining cleanup and site remediation of the site and surrounding Fifth Ward areas. We’re focused on the safety of the Fifth Ward community and are committed to finishing the job.
We created this website to share key facts and updates related to our ongoing site work. Here, you can access scientific studies and learn more about the site’s history and our plans for additional monitoring and remediation work. Transparency and open communication mean a lot to us at Union Pacific – everyone deserves access to complete and accurate information.
Our actions will be thorough, transparent and effective. We’re focused on getting the job done and doing it right.
We’ve made progress in Fifth Ward, and we’ll continue to focus on the safety of the community.
Since inheriting the former HWPW site in a 1997 merger, we’ve prioritized remediation and have made measurable progress with on-site cleanup. We’re committed to finishing the job. Here’s a look at some of the environmental work at the site that’s been conducted to safeguard the community:
Glossary of Terms
Over 11,000 tons of creosote-impacted soil was consolidated and sealed onsite with an engineered cap to prevent community exposure and harm.
Groundwater SamplingWidespread sampling and evaluation of 120 water sources beneath the Greater Fifth Ward area to find possible sources of pollution.
Air Quality Monitoring and TestingOngoing air quality monitoring, vapor intrusion investigations and analysis was performed to ensure residents are protected from harmful exposure pathways.
Continued Cleanup, Testing and MonitoringContinued groundwater testing, creosote removal, and inspections of the remediated areas to ensure protective barrier caps remain in place.
With next steps in place for ongoing remediation, we’re focused on moving Fifth Ward forward.
Union Pacific is focused on doing our part to safeguard the Fifth Ward community. Since inheriting the former HWPW site 13 years after its closure, we’ve been diligent with cleanup in accordance with federal and state regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). We will remain firm in our efforts to prevent exposure to environmental hazards. Studies have not revealed a significant pathway for the contamination to reach any residents living near the former HWPW site, and drinking water has been deemed safe by the City of Houston and EPA.
Union Pacific is collaborating with EPA, City of Houston, Harris County, and Bayou City Initiative on the next stage of remediation and will perform thorough sampling and comprehensive testing strategies in the Fifth Ward community surrounding the former HWPW site.
The Houston Health Department’s (HHD) September 2022 report emphasized the need for more soil testing in the area to provide complete information and data. Union Pacific proactively called the U.S. EPA to join our efforts to assure the community every next step will be timely, transparent, thorough, and effective.
Union Pacific, in line with the HHD report, is focused on additional testing to accurately determine the true extent and source of contamination in the neighborhood. Complete testing is the only way to accurately determine the extent and source of contamination in the neighborhood, and Union Pacific will pay for all sampling and testing.
Union Pacific recognizes the community’s concerns and fear, and assures remediation, neighborhood sampling, and testing, and any actions to follow will be timely, transparent, and effective. We care about the Fifth Ward community, and we will be accountable to what we’re responsible for.
Community is our shared environment, and Union Pacific aims to foster its safety and sustainability. We pledge active collaboration, transparent communication and timely engagement throughout the process.